Japan is considering offering the coronavirus vaccine for free to all citizens, a Japanese media house Kyodo news reported Wednesday.The Japanese government has said it aims to secure enough COVID-19 vaccines for every citizen by the middle of next year amid uncertainties surrounding questions over how soon a vaccine can be expected.
The Asian economic superpower has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and announced in mid-May that it was already in recession when first-quarter GDP slid by 0.6 percent after a 1.9-percent drop in the final three months of 2019. The world’s third biggest economy then registered a further slump of 7.8 percent in the April-June quarter, its worst on record, as the COVID-19 situation further magnified chronic economic troubles for the nation.
Earlier, Chinese drug major Sinopharm kickstarted testing a COVID-19 vaccine in Bahrain in August after starting a similar trial on 15,000 subjects in the nearby United Arab Emirates a month earlier. The randomised, double-blind trial of 6,000 people is still taking on board healthy men and women as volunteers to test the vaccine’s efficacy and safety across a large cross-section of the population.
The overall study is estimated to be completed by September 2021, according to the US National Library of Medicine while the clinial trial is due to finish July 2021.